Many years ago when I obtained a visa to visit Saudi Arabia for the first time, I remember a prominent sign in the lobby of Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC.
It warned of extensive delays for Canadians applying for visas. In looking into the matter more closely, I learned that Canada still has been a “thorn” in the Kingdom’s side for years when it comes to confrontation over human rights issues.
And almost eight years later, it seems that not much has changed.
Last week, Ottawa condemned Riyadh for the arrest and detention of human rights activists, including a leading women’s rights campaigner. Riyadh responded harshly, vowing to cease new trade and investment with Canada. The Canadian Ambassador was also made persona non grata while the Saudi Ambassador to Canada was recalled. Riyadh called this “a blatant interference in the Kingdom’s domestic affairs, against basic international norms and all international protocols.”
On Monday, Canada refused to backdown, insisting that it would stand for human rights, no matter the consequences. This infuriated the Kingdom, which responded by promptly suspending educational exchange programs. Hours later, Saudia announced the suspension of its service to Toronto, the only Canadian city served, effective August 13th.
What To Do If Your Flight Is Cancelled
Saudia has promised not to strand passengers who fall victim to this diplomatic spat.
On Twitter, the airline promised either a cash refund or help with finding alternate flight reservations:
Hello our dear Guest, all flights will be suspended from/to Canada as of Aug. 13 and the restrictions will be lifted for all exported tickets with the possibility of restoring the value of the tickets (cash), and we will work to find alternative solutions for our distinguished guests on Toronto. Thank you for your communication.
I expect Saudia will offer passengers a re-route via New York to their final destination.
If your flight is cancelled, call Saudia at or reach out to a local ticketing office. The toll-free number is 1-800-472-8342 in the USA or 1-855-588-0999 in Canada.
While it is always unfortunate when passengers get stuck in the middle of a diplomatic rift between two nations, at least it appears Saudia will ensure that no passengers goes stranded. If your flight has been cancelled, please leave a comment below on how Saudia reaccomodated you.
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